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Supply teaching

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by BYusuf, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    When does it pay to do supply teaching as opposed to having a permanent teaching role?

    Are there really any financial benefits to supply teaching or it is a myth?

    Do supply teachers have it easier than those in permanent positions?

    Please share your experiences and insights.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I'm no longer doing supply, so current conditions may differ. However in answer to your questions, here are some of my own thoughts.

    When does it pay to do supply teaching as opposed to having a permanent teaching role?
    In term of financial rewards, never. Even working every day possible in the school year, will only mean being paid for 39 out of the 52 weeks in the years.
    However in terms of 'emotional' payment, sometimes people need a 'break' from the commitments of a full-time post.
    It is not advisable to rely on supply as a regular source of income and as many recent recruits to supply have posted recently , the 'waiting for the phone call to ring has it's own inherent problems.
    Ditto with Are there really any financial benefits to supply teaching or it is a myth?

    Do supply teachers have it easier than those in permanent positions?
    I would say that as most people on supply will tell you it is not easier. You often don't know the children/students, or the routines, behaviour policy and the students will respond to this and push the boundaries. The 'established' teacher often has fewer behavioural difficulties because they are a 'known figure' in the school, as teachers who move schools often find to their astonishment. Supply teachers deal with this on a daily basis with little opportunity to establish themselves.
    mw500, MathMan1, JohnJCazorla and 3 others like this.
  3. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thank you for your reply, Laura.

    I asked my questions partly in regards to some recent posts about supply teaching roles versus permanent teaching roles and queries raised about this.

    I also raised this due to a colleague's recent supply teaching experience and how disheartened they were with the realities which did not match any of their expectations. They were equally frustrated when they found out that they were earning the lowest daily rate in comparison to other supply teachers doing exactly the same role within the same school.

    The point you made about 'emotional payment' may be the only aspect which makes supply teaching more beneficial on a short term basis.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    There is one 'positive' in that on supply one does get to see which schools one would not want to apply to, should a post arise.
    Experience in a variety of schools does enable one to decide which schools one feels would make a good match for oneself.
    mw500, MathMan1, JohnJCazorla and 4 others like this.
  5. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Very true, Lara.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. baitranger

    baitranger Established commenter

    Most supply schools are depressing places . They have no proper desks for supply teachers and few chairs in the staff room for relaxation when possible. Pay for working in these pits should be much higher with special benefits whereas all you get is just daily pay, with NO sick pay, NO holidays paid, NO pension and NO security. Bad behaviour abounds towards Hapless supply teachers who are only doing their best under difficult circumstances, driving miles all over the country just for a loaf of bread to feed their children.
    mw500, Computerchase and pepper5 like this.
  7. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Hi baitranger,

    The lack of security in supply teaching is a concern and can leave supply teachers in a vulnerable position, particularly if their schools are as unwelcoming as you describe.

    Following a recent chat with a friend, another concerning aspect is when some schools see colleagues in this position as 'just supply teachers'...
    mw500, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. russysaccount66

    russysaccount66 New commenter

    I am a teacher and own a supply teaching agency, this isn't necessarily true of all agencies. We have quite a few teachers who prefer supply and are totally doing supply out of personal preference. It just depends what your priorities are really.
    JohnJCazorla, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. silenceapres3

    silenceapres3 New commenter

    Hi BYusuf,
    Agencies are extremely exploitative and dismissive of the teachers' pay scale. My income halved when I did supply last year. Their daily rate is £110 (or £130 if you are in London) which if you get an average of three days a week work over 39 weeks in the school year, well, you do the math as they say! £12k a year is an insulting salary for a qualified teacher facing often very challenging behaviour and I would rather be penniless and unemployed than help line agencies' pockets in return for it! Remember, there is no access to the teacher's pension scheme when you work for an agency, a hidden loss. If you do want the flexibility of doing supply and can afford not to rely on a set income, decide where you are on the MPS/UPS, divide that by the 195 school days in the year and there is your daily rate WITHOUT any pension contribution. That's where I always started my negotiations. There is an excellent app now called Teacher In which puts you in direct contact with schools enabling you to cut out the middle man and negotiate what you want in this way. And if you find out colleagues are being paid more, your zero hours contract means you can renegotiate whenever you like as zero job security means zero commitment to a contract. Good luck!
  10. central_park_wigan

    central_park_wigan New commenter

    It never really pays other than as a career break
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    295.here are a variety of people doing supply and many different experiences.

    Some people who do it are retired with no mortgages and it is a means whereby they can make some money to spend however they like - and choose whenever they do it and go to only the schools they like. That is of course a good place to be. Some are taking a career break or dong it while retraining or studying. I have met a few people doing doctorates and they do supply while they are studying. Some are doing it because they enjoy teaching but can't face the very long hours of 60+ in some schools.

    I became a supply teacher at the age of 50 which believe me was a SHOCK. I was helping my husband in his business and in the Great Recession of 2009 our business started not to make so much money and I had to find alternative work. I registered with two supply agencies and I have been doing it for almost nine years. The income together with my husband's business has allowed us to live comfortably . We, however, budget and have a very old car which we bought for £295 but is perfectly fine and drives like a dream. It is not everyone's cup of tea - going around shops to get marked down food and searching for bargains, but it works for us. We eat better actually and have a lot of fresh fruit and fish.

    It is true it does not pay as well as permanent teaching BUT it pays more than office temping work and it has been a means for my husband and me to keep afloat. It is not ideal by any means and I have looked for other work that pays as well but I can't find anything that pays as much despite the holidays not having any income.

    One advantage for me is that I get paid weekly - that has helped us budget a lot better.

    The most frustrating part of the job is for me is that sometimes I have to turn away work from the most challenging schools. Some of the behaviour is so challenging I can't face it. Some schools are absolutely fine and the students great. However, it is not an easy job by any means. The days are gruelling: up to five classes per day plus registrations teaching any subject and any key stage. The advantage of course is that at the end of the day that is it: you go home and no planning nor marking. In recent years, I have noticed that class sizes in some schools are creeping up to over 30.

    Some people may look down on supply teachers but they need to realise that one day that might be them sitting in a school staffroom without anyone to say hello to - you never know what the future may bring.
  12. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    [QUOTE="pepper5, post: 12601611, member: Some people may look down on supply teachers but they need to realise that one day that might be them sitting in a school staffroom without anyone to say hello to - you never know what the future may bring.[/QUOTE]
    This a thousand times. I got pushed out of a permanent post. I had to do supply or find work outside teaching asap.
    I got lucky really - a few nice schools where I got plenty of work and eventually leading to a new permanent post.
    That's probably the biggest advantage (assuming you want a permanent post) - seeing schools as they really are before you join longer term.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi becky70

    Welcome to the forum.

    The harder you work, the luckier you get.

    Well done for getting a job in a place you enjoy working at.
    becky70, agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  14. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Thank you, pepper 5!
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You are welcome - you deserve it. Just remember to help other supply teachers when you see them.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. timson6

    timson6 New commenter

    One of the many disadvantages of supply teaching is lack of pay rises. It's only a job option in the short term because there's no salary progression. I've dipped in any out of supply for 10 years and the pay is still the same £125 a day, as when I started. Was hoping for an increase this Septermber but can see, with school's financial problems, that it's not going to happen, either now or any time soon. At least in permanent jobs there are increments and occasionally, cost of living increases. In supply there's nothing - you're just at the mercy of the agency.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  17. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    except of curse, the agency takes far more than that. Really, we should have set up co ops years ago where supply teaches rotate teaching and running the office in each area.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  18. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    True but you're not obliged to accept the agency's first offer. If* you have the financial safety to afford a few days, or even weeks, unemployed then you can keep pushing for it to get higher. Start doing it now as more schools are calling agencies and everyone starts realising that decent teachers like you are costing more. The agencies will have been pushing up their rates over the last 10 years.

    * or do I mean IF?
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  19. louarmour

    louarmour New commenter

    Hi. I've not had any teaching work this term and I've just been told that I have to jump through compliance hoops again. The thing is they say it is because I have not taught for three months. Worryingly, they say the summer holiday counts as part of the three months so the cut off was in Oct ie Aug, Sept, Oct = 3 months. They are telling me that it is a legal requirement to treat the school holiday as part of that three months. Does anyone know if this Catch 22 idiocy really is a legal requirement?
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Generally supply work does not include holidays or sickness periods. The compliance rules sound like the agencies own and if you want to work through them - then you have to conform unfortunately. They tend to remember the last person who they placed so it could be with a change of staff ( very frequent in agencies) you have been forgotten. You need to establish a relationship with an individual in the agency.
    BYusuf, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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